740.0011 European War 1939/3721

The Under Secretary of State (Welles) to President Roosevelt

My Dear Mr. President: You may not have seen the attached telegram51 sent by Caffery and reporting on the speech of President Vargas yesterday.

President Vargas certainly chose a singularly unfortunate moment for his speech but I think you will agree, after reading the text quoted by Caffery, that there is nothing whatever in the speech except one or two ill-chosen phrases which justify the onslaught being made upon President Vargas by the American press today. It was clearly a speech intended solely for domestic consumption and the last page of the telegram makes it thoroughly clear that in all of the references which he makes to political systems he is talking solely about the Brazilian Government and in no sense about the German or Italian dictatorships.

The criticisms of our own press will be reprinted in the German and Italian controlled papers in Brazil and will undoubtedly be used to advantage to stir up feeling against the United States.

If, at your press conference on Friday, you were to find it possible to say a few words of regard for President Vargas and for the exceedingly close and friendly relationship between the two governments, I believe it would have an admirable effect. I may remind you that at this very moment the secret military and naval conversations are going on in Rio between our officers and members of the Brazilian [Page 621]Government52 and that the Brazilian Government has offered us every possible form of cooperation in the realm of national defense. We have fortunately been able so far to avoid any publicity with regard to these conversations.

Believe me

Faithfully yours,

Sumner Welles
  1. Telegram No. 267, June 11, 8 a.m., p. 616.
  2. See pp. 40 ff.